Are Hockey Neck Guard Shirts As Good As Traditional Neck Guards

Hockey neckguards are more in demand than ever with the protective garments flying off the racks all over the world (for example, the game-changing AYCANE Blade EVO Base Layer Long Sleeve is currently out of stock but available for pre-order and will ship in June 2024).

While traditional neckguards have been largely unchanged over the years, newer base layers with built-in neck protection have emerged on the market. The question for every hockey player and parent of a hockey player is: Do neck guard shirts offer the same protection as traditional neck guards? Let’s take a look.

Examining Traditional Neck Guards

Traditional hockey neck guards are standalone pieces of equipment designed specifically to protect the neck from impacts, cuts, and lacerations. Typically made from materials like kevlar or high-density foam, these guards are worn around the neck and secured with velcro straps. When worn properly, they provide a snug fit and are mandated in many hockey leagues for player safety.

Advantages of Traditional Neck Guards

1. Targeted Protection: Traditional neck guards are engineered solely to protect the neck, offering dedicated coverage to this vulnerable area.

2. Lightweight and Comfortable: Many players have no problems with the feel of a traditional neckguard. Modern designs prioritize comfort without compromising safety, allowing players to focus on their game without distractions. 

3. Tried and Tested: Traditional neck guards have been used for decades and have a decent track record of effectively reducing neck-related injuries.

Issues with Traditional Neck Guards

1. They’re Uncomfortable: The most common reason hockey players don’t want to wear neckguards is that they aren’t comfortable. Despite playing a high-speed and physical game with sticks, pucks, and razor-sharp skate blades, hockey players aren’t the best at adapting to new pieces of equipment. We’re creatures of habit and resistant to change.

For example, how many hockey players do you know that only started wearing a cage or half-shield after catching a stick or puck to the face? Some are totally fine with wearing them, others hate them. And with hockey players — if any piece of equipment is uncomfortable, it can be distracting and throw off your whole game.

2. Potential for Misalignment: The main issue with neck guards is that they’re detached and adjustable, which can leave gaps in the area they’re supposed to protect, which compromises the intended level of protection. Even when worn correctly, a skate blade or stick could get under them or between the neck guard and shoulder pads or helmet. 

Exploring Hockey Neck Guard Shirts

Hockey neck guard shirts represent a newer approach to neck protection, integrating neck guard elements into the fabric of a compression baselayer shirt. These shirts feature built-in neckguards made from cut-resistant materials, which means they offer better protection while being more comfortable. 

Advantages of Hockey Neck Guard Shirts

1. Enhanced Comfort: Unlike standalone neck guards that may slide around, neck guard shirts are part of a form-fitting baselayer, which allows for greater comfort and freedom of movement. You won’t feel any annoying chafing and will forget you’re even technically wearing a neck guard.

2. Integration with Apparel: One less piece of gear is a beautiful thing. You already wear a base layer shirt, so why not integrate a neck guard into it?

3. Moisture Management: Many neck guard shirts feature moisture-wicking properties, which keeps players dry and comfortable during intense gameplay.

    Challenges with Hockey Neck Guard Shirts

    1. Coverage Area: While neck guard shirts offer protection to a wider area than traditional neck guards and address the issue of closing the gap between the shoulder pads and traditional neck guard, they still have a gap between the top of the guard and helmet. 

    2. Price Tag: Hockey neckguard shirts are expensive, but when you consider that they’re actually two pieces of equipment in one, you’ll see they offer great value. 

    The Verdict

    So which is better, a traditional neck guard or a baselayer shirt with built-in neck protection?

    In our completely unbiased opinion, it’s the base layer shirt in a landslide. More comfortable, breathable, and no annoying shifting around without compromising on cut-resisting ability, the neckguard shirt is a better, more modern solution for hockey neck protection. 

    And these shirts are in high-demand, so get in on the pre-order now to make sure you don’t miss out on the next shipment.


    Blade EVO Base Layer Long Sleeve 

    Blade EVO Base Layer Short Sleeve


    Blade EVO Base Layer Long Sleeve


    Blade EVO Base Layer Long Sleeve
    Blade EVO Base Layer Long Sleeve 2.0

    View the full line of AYCANE cut protection products.

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